October 2021 – On 28 September 2021, the Turkish Personal Data Protection Authority (the “Authority”) published a public announcement on how to process PCR test and/or vaccination information under Turkish Data Protection Law numbered 6698 (the “Law”). Follow this link (in Turkish only) for the full text of the announcement. We summarise the main points below.
Within the scope of the public announcement:
- Information about the health status of individuals, such as medical analyses, examination results, tests, reports, and vaccination status are considered as personal health data and treated as sensitive data under the Law.
- However, the Authority emphasises that processing personal health data related to Covid-19, such as vaccination status and PCR test results, is necessary in order to protect public health, public security and public order within the scope of combating the pandemic.
- According to Article 28 of the Law, the Law shall not be applied in cases where personal data is processed by public institutions and organisations duly authorised and assigned by law to limit the spread of a pandemic and eliminate the threat of the pandemic in question based on public security and public order.
- The Authority states that there is no obstacle to processing Covid-19 vaccination information and/or PCR test information within the scope of preventive and protective activities carried out by public institutions and organisations as defined in Article 28 of the Law in order to limit the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, which threatens public security and public order.
- In addition, personal data processing activities that are outside the scope or exceed the purpose of protecting public security and public order shall be evaluated within the scope of the Law.
As a result of the public announcement:
- In order to minimise the risk posed by the pandemic in terms of public health and public order, Turkey’s Ministry of Interior has imposed the obligation to report Covid-19 vaccination information or PCR test information with negative results for people who want to participate in public activities such as concerts, cinemas, theatres or to use public transportation.
- The Ministry of Labour and Social Security has also stated that employees who are not vaccinated against Covid-19 will be required by the workplace/employer to have a PCR test once a week, and the test results will be recorded in order to take the actions necessary within the scope of protective and preventive measures against health and safety risks that may be encountered in workplaces.
- In conclusion, the announcement states that the provisions of the Law will not be applied to the activities carried out by public institutions and organisations authorised by law, as mentioned above, in order to limit the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
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